Sunday, October 11, 2009

Anglophile Tea Time

Two weeks ago, my darling friend Sarah and I met for our annual birthday tea. Each fall we celebrate our birthdays (July and September) with a full several course tea at one of the local tea rooms. Sarah is my fellow anglophile from college. Besides being in band (Go Clarinets!) together there, we were both in England at the same time on various study experiences. We met up in Oxford and had, of course,! (We now lament that we did not have proper tea together in England, but alas---C'est la vie.)

This year we had afternoon tea at The Mad Hatter in the fair city of Anoka, MN. It was a delightful afternoon, the company and conversation wonderful and very relaxing.

Tea, with cream.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup.

Tea Sandwiches with Fruit: Egg Salad, Cucumber,Turkey Croissant with something Tomato and Chicken Salad with Apple Butter on Cinnamon Bread.

Dessert Tray: Orange-Cranberry Scones served with Clotted Cream, Preserves & Lemon Curd, Chocolate Brownies, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Lime Tarts.

Smiles all around.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Miss Austen Regrets (Everything Austen Challenge 3)

I finally had a chance to watch my taped copy of Miss Austen Regrets, which I'd faithfully taped during the 2008 Masterpiece season of the complete Jane Austen. But somehow I'd forgotten that I didn't get a chance to watch it, and it ended up hidden in the depths of our entertainment center. To watch the movie, I had to dig out an older VCR from a closet in the basement and get it set up. I'd attempted to watch it sometime in August, but had to stop (kiddo waking up from a nap?). So finally, when I was home with said sick kiddo a week ago, I took the time to enjoy a nice mug of hot apple cider and watch Miss Austen Regrets.

Loved Olivia Williams as Jane and Hugh Bonneville as Rev. Bridges. Loved them. Did not like Imogen Poots as Fanny, however. If you ask me, she has the most distracting smirk ever! Likewise, Fanny came across as a very selfish girl. But perhaps she was when you think about her age and Jane's age etc. It was an interesting plot, to take the premise that Jane regretted not marrying and to show the consequence of that decision. Interesting, but it left me sad in a way that Becoming Jane did not. I haven't yet figure out how to explain that feeling. Becoming Jane's ending felt bittersweet and left me crying. Somehow there was no blame placed on her in that movie or that wasn't the point of Becoming Jane. Miss Austen Regrets left me sad and annoyed. Annoyed that Mrs. Austen was so spiteful and blamed Jane for their economic ruin, sad that Jane felt so pressured to marry and that she felt guilty at the end of her life for not marrying, but also annoyed that she was made to feel that way. Both movies have merit in showing different points in Jane's life, and maybe it's good to feel annoyed and mad that she (and other women) felt that they had no other choice than to marry.

I did like the imagery of Jane walking through the country fields like this picture from the movie shows. It accurately portrays what I think of when I think of Dear Jane taking long walks across fields near Steventon and Chawton Cottage.

Things I Wanted To Blog About At the Time

Things I Wanted To Blog About At the Time: A Collection by BB.

These blog entries were written in full, usually in my car whilst driving to and fro from said place of employment quite eloquently in my head. (Really, I need to get a voice recorder, because I write sooooo well in my head. So much me for writing the great American novel.)
  • Coffee Taste Tests. I participated in an online taste test of Starbucks VIA ready brew packets at Marilyn Brant's blog, Brant Flakes. Here is where I fully admit to drinking instant coffee most mornings. And here is where I fully endorse the Starbucks VIA packets. It is by far the smoothest, best tasting instant coffee I have ever tried. This from someone who isn't the biggest Starbucks fan. But should I find myself inside a store and they finally come to MN (only available in NY, Chicago etc. right now), I have a sneaky suspicion that I'd need to purchase one.
  • Lady Susan Soiree Finale. Finished participating in the online read of Dear Jane's Lady Susan at Austenprose. It was a delightful group conversation! And there are some great moments and quotes in LS. Here are just a few of my favorites, with this link from the Soiree of more quips and quotes.
"I take London in my way to that insupportable spot, a country village." Lady Susan, Letter 2
"Where there is a disposition to dislike, a motive will never be wanting." Lady Susan, Letter 5

"There is exquisite pleasure in subduing an insolent spirit, in making a person predetermined to dislike acknowledge one’s superiority." Lady Susan, Letter 7
"In short, when a person is always to deceive, it is impossible to be consistent." Mrs. Vernon, Letter 17
  • Grocery Shopping @ Super Target. Thinking that the party-line that T employees are told to tell guests is "Yep, I'm having trouble getting that in." Seriously. I was told that 4 times last weekend. Isn't the point of a Target run to not have to go to Cub, too? But lo and behold, the last 2 or 3 times I've attempted to grocery shop at Target, I've had to go to Cub, too bc T was out of things I needed (and needed that day, mind you!). One word: Nrrrrrrr.
  • Finally did another Everything Austen Thing. Planning on posting about it later. YAY! (Ok, there have been lots of Austen things in my life, but this was one from my official list.)